19 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.
Last week we talked about noticing people, which is the first step to doable evangelism. The next step is to listen to people. Like the act of noticing, listening is not something normal. Most of us are used to talking. I have found working with couples that the process of active listening is an arduous task, because most of the time while our significant other is jabbering on, we are merely wait for them to breathe so that we can respond.
The process of listening, however, shows that the other person has value. We listen to what we find interesting and important. Therefore, in order to build true connections and friendships with people, we have to listen to them.
You may wonder what does this have to do with evangelism. Most people associate evangelism with talking, debating, arguing, pointing fingers, yelling and the such. Doable Evangelism, as Jim Henderson argues, however, is not a scripted debate but an ordinary task all of us can do by listening to the people around us.
By listening, we are invited into the life of another person. We are able to see the places where God may be active in their life, or some dark areas where they are struggling. By listening, we show that we care about them, and we care about them because God cares about us.
So here is how to try out listening this week—ask someone “how are you doing?” and really mean it. Stand there and let them tell you how they really are doing. Fight the urge to fix any problems, to illumine them to a new perspective, or to start telling them how you are doing.
Start with a close friend or family member. Then try it with a coworker. When you realize it is not that scary, try it to a random encounter like a store clerk.